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Both And

Having a “public” space like Shechem at Hope Street has brought with it some challenges that are new to the everyday flow we have been used to having when it was just Hope Street, the apartment building. Some of the obstacles we have had to maneuver through:

1. People showing up high, or smelling of weed.

2. Language used to talk with/at one another inside of our space (in particular inside of the gym).

3. Disbursing food and drinks (not wanting to create a culture of entitlement or hoarding, but resting in having just enough for today).

4. Staff interactions with various personalities, backgrounds and challenges.

5. Helping volunteers let go of the need to have something specific to do, and simply enter in to whatever God has for the day.

These are all items we would love prayer in.

What we have very quickly learned is that it is important to have both a physically safe space, as well as an emotionally safe space for people to BE. One is not more important than the other, and both must be at work for people to experience something new. The beauty of our space catches people off guard, the welcoming faces and words invite people in, and yet we all carry our own “stuff” with us wherever we go. Our hope is that our culture creates a safe environment where people can exhale, be met in their mess and then given an opportunity to respond/live in a new way. This doesn’t happen overnight, but the standard is set and our job is to remain consistent.

Father, please continue to give us the grace that we need to discern where people are at when they walk through our doors. Help us to understand that “not today” doesn’t always mean “not ever”, but that part of the way we protect and love people well is upholding our mission and values inside of our spaces. Help us to meet, and be met right where we are at with grace, truth and love. We thank you that Shechem is one more place that you intentionally choose to show up, and meet your people in. Keep us safe. From ourselves, from the toxicity that attempts to sneak in, and from the thought patterns that hold us captive to bad habits, wrong thoughts, and ill will.




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